Over 20 young children rushed to hospital after drinking from milk cartons filled with sanitizer

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(Video Credit: NBC News)

Parents were shocked and horrified after receiving a tweet and/or robocall on Wednesday informing them that milk cartons filled with diluted sanitizer were accidentally given to preschoolers and kindergarten students at a center in New Jersey.

School officials sent out a tweet announcing that an investigation into a “possible contamination of milk” at the Early Childhood Development Center in Camden showed that milk cartons were filled with sanitizer used to clean the machines, sealed, and then were shipped out before anyone noticed the egregious error. It is unknown who was in charge of inspecting the product before shipment.

Staff at the center immediately called 911 at approximately 9 am on Wednesday after more than 25 children drank the milk from the tainted cartons which had an antiseptic-like odor, according to WPVI Philadelphia.

Eleven students were rushed to Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes hospital for treatment but were soon discharged. Twenty-one other students were taken to Cooper Medical Center, where they were also discharged a few hours later, according to WPVI. No one appeared to get sick.

“This was a scary situation but thankfully, everyone who was exposed to the milk is in stable condition and either back at school or home,” Camden County Health Officer Paschal Nwako said in a statement to ABC 6 news. “This investigation is ongoing, and our department will get to the bottom of this situation. In addition, I want to thank all of our first responders and public health employees who worked together to protect the health and welfare of these children.”

According to the Camden City School District, the sanitizer is not toxic but parents are still worried about their children ingesting it. Students were sent to the two hospitals out of an abundance of caution. Officials also dispatched first responders in the wake of the incident.

“We pulled all milk today and NO milk will be served until the investigation is completed,” officials adamantly asserted.

So far, there are four schools that have been impacted by the milk carton incident. Preliminary testing has been conducted according to officials.

“Nothing is more important to us than food safety and the well-being of our communities. We are fully cooperating with the investigation in Camden and are thankful for the quick action of our employees, school district, emergency professionals, and all of those who responded as soon as the issue was discovered,” a spokesperson for Aramark, the vendor for Camden County Schools, said in a statement.

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is now investigating Guida’s Dairy milk that was possibly contaminated with the diluted sanitizer. The state department said the 1% low-fat half-pint milk cartons had a limited distribution in New Jersey, but all institutional customers with 1% low-fat half-pint milk cartons with a sell-by date of April 11 are urged to dispose of the product, according to NBC Connecticut.

The guidance only applies to institutional customers because the affected product is not available at retail outlets for consumer purchase.

“The quality of our products is deeply important to the Guida’s Dairy team. We are working with all appropriate regulatory agencies to make them aware of this issue and taking the necessary corrective actions,” Guida’s Dairy said in a statement.


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